Django REST Framework (DRF) Interview Questions

Prepare for your Django REST Framework (DRF) interview with a comprehensive set of interview questions and answers. Gain insights into DRF, APIs, REST principles, installation, serializers, generic views, authentication, pagination, and handling nested relationships. Be well-equipped to showcase your expertise in DRF during your interview.

Question 1: What is Django REST Framework (DRF)?

Answer: Django REST Framework is a powerful and flexible toolkit for building Web APIs in Python. It provides a set of tools and libraries to simplify the process of creating, testing, and documenting APIs.


Question 2: What is an API?

Answer: API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. APIs define the methods and data formats used for interaction between applications.


Question 3: What is REST and REST API?

Answer: REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style for designing networked applications. It is based on a set of principles, such as using standard HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) to perform operations on resources. A REST API is an API that follows the principles of REST, allowing clients to interact with server resources using HTTP.


Question 4: How do you install Django REST Framework?

Answer: To install Django REST Framework, you can use pip, the package installer for Python. Run the following command:

pip install djangorestframework

This will download and install the latest version of DRF along with its dependencies.


Question 5: What are the benefits of using Django REST Framework?

Answer: Django REST Framework offers several benefits, including:

  • Simplified API development with built-in serializers, authentication, and authorization mechanisms.

  • Support for various data formats such as JSON, XML, and YAML.

  • Comprehensive documentation generation.

  • Powerful generic views and viewsets for handling common API operations.

  • Support for authentication schemes like token-based authentication and OAuth.


Question 6:  What are the different types of APIs?

Answer: There are several types of APIs, including:

  • Web APIs (HTTP/HTTPS-based): Used for communication between web services over the internet.

  • Library APIs: Provide functions and classes that can be used within a programming language.

  • Operating System APIs: Allow applications to interact with the underlying operating system.

  • Database APIs: Enable interaction with databases using a specific programming language.


Question 7: What does API stand for?

Answer: API stands for Application Programming Interface.


Question 8: What are the main principles of REST architecture?

Answer: REST principles include statelessness, client-server architecture, caching, uniform interface, layered system, etc.


Question 9: What is a serializer in Django REST Framework?

Answer: A serializer is a component in DRF that converts complex data types (like Django models) into JSON, XML, or other content types. It also handles deserialization, validating input data, and transforming data for display.


Question 10: How do you define a serializer in DRF?

Answer: We define a serializer by creating a class that inherits from serializers.Serializer and specifies the fields we want to include in the serialized output.


Question 11: How can you perform validation using serializers?

Answer: DRF serializers provide built-in validation methods, such as "validate_<field_name>()", which allow us to apply custom validation logic to specific fields.


Question 12: What is deserialization in the context of Django REST Framework?

Answer: Deserialization refers to the process of converting incoming data, typically in the form of JSON, into Python objects that can be used within the application. It involves taking the raw data and mapping it to appropriate model instances using serializers.


Question 13: How does Django REST Framework handle JSON deserialization?

Answer: Django REST Framework uses serializers to handle JSON deserialization. Serializers define how data should be converted from JSON to Python objects and vice versa. When an API request is received, the data is validated, deserialized, and then used to create or update model instances.


Question 14: What is the purpose of serializers in Django REST Framework when it comes to deserialization?

Answer: Serializers in Django REST Framework define how data should be converted between complex data types, such as Django model instances and JSON data. They handle the validation and conversion of incoming data, ensuring it matches the expected format and types.


Question 15: What are function-based API views in Django REST Framework?

Answer: Function-based API views are views that are defined using regular Python functions. They receive an HTTP request as input and return an HTTP response. These views can handle different HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) by implementing separate sections of code for each method.


Question 16: How do you handle different HTTP methods in a function-based API view?

Answer: In a function-based view, you can use conditional statements based on the request method to determine the appropriate action. For example, you can use if request.method == 'GET': to handle a GET request, and so on for other methods.


Question 17: What are class-based API views in Django REST Framework?

Answer: Class-based API views are views that are defined using classes rather than functions. They provide a more structured way to handle API endpoints and can be more reusable by inheriting methods and attributes from parent classes.


Question 18: What are the main advantages of using class-based views for building APIs?

Answer: Class-based views promote code reusability and organization. They allow you to define common behaviors using mixins and inheritance, leading to cleaner and more maintainable code. They also make it easier to handle different HTTP methods using class methods like get(), post(), etc.


Question 19: Explain the role of mixins in class-based views. Provide an example scenario where mixins are useful.

Answer: Mixins are reusable components that can be combined with class-based views to add specific functionality. For instance, the AuthenticationMixin can be added to restrict access to authenticated users, while the PaginationMixin can be used to paginate querysets.


Question 20: How do you handle different HTTP methods in a class-based API view?

Answer: In a class-based view, you can define methods like get(), post(), put(), and delete() to handle different HTTP methods. Django REST Framework will automatically call the appropriate method based on the incoming request.


Question 21: What is validation in Django REST Framework?

Answer: Validation in Django REST Framework refers to the process of ensuring that the data sent to the API is accurate, consistent, and meets the required criteria before it's saved or processed.


Question 22: How can you perform validation in DRF?

Answer: Validation can be performed using serializers in DRF. We can define custom validation methods in the serializer class, such as validate_<field_name>, to perform field-specific validation. We can also use serializer-level validate method for cross-field validation.


Question 23: Explain the difference between field-level validation and serializer-level validation.

Answer: Field-level validation is applied to a specific field and can be defined using validate_<field_name> methods. Serializer-level validation is applied across multiple fields and is defined using the validate method within the serializer.


Question 24: How can you raise validation errors in DRF?

Answer: To raise validation errors, we can use the serializers.ValidationError class. For example, raise serializers.ValidationError("Error message").


Question 25: What are Generic API Views in DRF?

Answer: Generic API Views are pre-built views provided by DRF that offer common behavior like retrieving a list of objects, retrieving a single object, updating an object, and deleting an object. They help reduce code duplication by providing reusable view implementations.


Question 26: What are Mixins in DRF?

Answer: Mixins are classes provided by DRF that encapsulate common behavior that can be added to views. They allow us to compose views from smaller, reusable components.


Question 27: How do you use Mixins in DRF?

Answer: To use a mixin, we can include it in our view class using multiple inheritance. For example, to use the CreateModelMixin for creating objects, we can include it in our view class: class MyView(CreateModelMixin, APIView):.


Question 28: Explain the difference between ListAPIView and RetrieveAPIView.

Answer: ListAPIView is used to retrieve a list of objects, while RetrieveAPIView is used to retrieve a single object by its primary key. ListAPIView returns a list of objects, while RetrieveAPIView returns a single object's details.


Question 29: What is a Viewset in DRF?

Answer: A Viewset in DRF is a class that combines multiple common actions (list, create, retrieve, update, delete) into a single class. It provides a high-level, simplified way to define API endpoints.


Question 30: How do you map URLs to a Viewset in DRF?

Answer: We can use a router, like DefaultRouter, to automatically generate URL patterns for our viewset. The router generates standard CRUD operation URLs based on the viewset's actions.


Question 31: Explain the difference between a regular View and a Viewset.

Answer: A regular view typically maps to a specific HTTP method (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) and requires manual URL configuration. A Viewset groups multiple related actions together, handles different HTTP methods, and often leverages automatic URL routing using routers.


Question 32: How can you customize the behavior of a Viewset in DRF?

Answer: We can customize a Viewset's behavior by defining methods with specific action names (e.g., list, create, retrieve, update, destroy). We can also override default methods like get_queryset and perform_create to customize database queries and object creation.


Question 33: Explain the purpose of authentication in a DRF-based API.

Answer: Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of users or clients accessing an API. In DRF, authentication ensures that only authorized users can interact with protected endpoints.


Question 34: What role do permissions play in DRF, and how do they enhance API security?

Answer: Permissions in DRF determine whether a user has the necessary privileges to perform specific actions on API resources. They add an extra layer of security by controlling access based on user roles and permissions.


Question 35: Describe the difference between authentication and authorization in the context of DRF.

Answer: Authentication verifies the identity of users, ensuring they are who they claim to be. Authorization, on the other hand, determines whether authenticated users have permission to perform certain actions on resources.


Question 36: What is Basic Authentication in DRF, and when is it typically used?

Answer: Basic Authentication involves sending a username and password with each API request. It's suitable for simple authentication requirements but may be less secure for some use cases.


Question 37: Explain how Session Authentication works in DRF. When is it commonly used?

Answer: Session Authentication uses user sessions and cookies to maintain user state. It's often used in web applications where users log in and maintain a session throughout their interaction with the application.


Question 38: What are some potential security concerns with Basic Authentication, and how can they be mitigated?

Answer: Basic Authentication sends credentials with every request, making it vulnerable to interception. To enhance security, you can use HTTPS (SSL/TLS) to encrypt communication between the client and server.


Question 39: Describe Token Authentication in DRF. How does it improve security compared to Basic Authentication?

Answer: Token Authentication involves issuing a unique token to each user. This token is used for subsequent authentication, making it more secure than sending credentials with each request. It's also stateless.


Question 40: What steps are involved in generating and using an authentication token for a user in a DRF application?

Answer: To use Token Authentication, you need to create and assign tokens to users. Here are the steps:

  • Create a token for the user.

  • Send the token in the Authorization header with each API request.


Question 41: When would you recommend using Token Authentication over other authentication methods in DRF?

Answer: Token Authentication is recommended when you want to provide a stateless and more secure authentication method, suitable for mobile apps and external clients.


Question 42: What is throttling in DRF, and why is it important for API management?

Answer: Throttling in DRF restricts the rate at which clients can make requests to prevent abuse or overuse of the API. It's important for maintaining API stability and fairness.


Question 43: List and briefly describe at least three built-in throttling classes provided by DRF.

Answer: DRF offers several built-in throttling classes, including:

  • UserRateThrottle: Limits requests per user.

  • AnonRateThrottle: Limits requests per anonymous (unauthenticated) user.

  • ScopedRateThrottle: Limits requests based on custom-defined scopes.


Question 44: How can you implement request rate limiting for specific views or user groups using throttling classes in DRF?

Answer: You can apply throttling classes at the view level by specifying the throttle_classes attribute in the view class or function. For example:

from rest_framework.throttling import UserRateThrottle

class MyAPIView(APIView):
    throttle_classes = [UserRateThrottle]



Question 45: Explain the purpose of data filtering in DRF. When is it beneficial in API development?

Answer: Data filtering allows clients to narrow down the results returned by an API by specifying criteria or parameters. It's beneficial when clients need to retrieve specific subsets of data from a larger dataset.


Question 46: What is the significance of the filter_backends attribute in a DRF view, and how does it impact data filtering?

Answer: The filter_backends attribute in a DRF view allows you to specify which filter classes to use for data filtering. It affects how the API processes filter parameters provided by clients.


Question 47: Why is pagination important in the context of API design, particularly when dealing with large data sets? Enumerate its advantages.

Answer: Pagination is essential for managing large data sets in APIs because it:

  • Reduces response times and client-side resource consumption.

  • Prevents overwhelming clients with excessive data.

  • Enhances API performance and scalability.

  • Improves user experience by presenting data in manageable chunks.


Question 48: Describe the differences between page-based pagination and cursor-based pagination in DRF. In which scenarios would you use each?

Answer: Page-based pagination divides results into fixed-size pages, while cursor-based pagination relies on a unique cursor or token for pagination. Page-based pagination is suitable for most cases, while cursor-based pagination is advantageous when dealing with potentially changing or real-time data (e.g., social media feeds) to ensure consistent ordering and no gaps in results.